Syria Accepts Arab League Observers

Syria has aquiesced to an Arab League ultimatum to accept a delegation of observers, or face U.N. involvement.

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Chana Ya'ar,

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
Israel news photo: Wikimedia Commons / Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom / ABr

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad has finally backed down and agreed to accept a delegation of observers from the Arab League.

The decision was announced Monday by Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi. 

The Arab League had given Syria till Sunday to respond to its last-chance invitation to accept a cadre of observers to ensure Assad's compliance with previously-signed agreement to end violence against civilian protesters in the country. 

The alternative held out by the Arab League would have been support for further United Nations involvement.

As it is, the Arab League had begun to impose sanctions on Syria, joining many other nations that had done so, including the United States, Canada, Turkey and the European Union nations.

Makdissi told reporters that Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem had sent the letter Sunday night in which he "responded positively" to the Arab League initiative.

The U.N. Human Rights Council has already charged Assad with crimes against humanity, holding him personally responsible for the horrific actions of his troops against Syrian citizens.

Updated death toll statistics by the U.N. placed the number of dead at more than 4,000, although an exact estimate is difficult to obtain due to the restrictions placed on journalists and human rights observers by the Assad regime.

Activists and human rights organizations within Syria claim the figure is far higher, with more than 4,500 dead since the anti-government uprising began in March with the advent of the country's "Arab Spring" protests. Thousands more have been injured, including many who have been tortured after being arbitrarily arrested and detained, including hundreds of children. Some have "disappeared."